United Airlines reluctantly agreed to postpone its company-wide Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandate Friday until a federal judge is able to hold further hearings in a case brought by six of the airline’s employees.
Evidently fearing it could lose Friday’s court battle and be slapped with a temporary restraining order (TRO), the airline pivoted 180 degrees and agreed to postpone its mandate until October 15. United Airlines originally told its 67,000 U.S. employees they must be vaccinated against Chinese coronavirus (or secure an exemption) by September 27 or face termination. Instead, unvaccinated employees will now be able to continue working normally while the plaintiffs and the company gather what they need to proceed in court.
Mark Paoletta, a partner at Schaerr Jaffe representing the plaintiff said in a statement:
We are pleased that under a threat of a Temporary Restraining Order, United Airlines postponed its heartless and unlawful vaccine mandate that would impose on approximately 2,000 employees the unconscionable choice of violating their religious faith, violating their doctors’ orders, or essentially losing their job.
Six United Airlines employees are suing the company for its “draconian” Chinese coronavirus vaccine mandate, alleging the company has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against them based on their religious and medical exemptions.
The class action lawsuit, which powerhouse Washington, DC, law firm Schaerr Jaffe filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on Tuesday, represents potentially at least 2,000 United Airlines employees. These workers have obtained religious or medical exemptions and will maintain employment, but they will be forced to live without pay and health benefits for up to six years while the company assesses the pandemic, according to the complaint.